Northern Ireland’s Dale Farm gets big Lidl cheese deal

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

The deal will see Dale Farm’s cheddars, as well as grated and sliced varieties, stocked in 8,000 stores in 22 countries.
The deal will see Dale Farm’s cheddars, as well as grated and sliced varieties, stocked in 8,000 stores in 22 countries.

Related tags: Lidl, Cheese, Cheddar cheese, Milk, Northern ireland

Supermarket chain Lidl has awarded Dale Farm, the largest UK farmer-owned dairy co-operative, a lead contract to supply cheddar cheese to its stores across the UK, Europe and the US.

The supply deal represents the single biggest contract awarded by Lidl to a Northern Ireland agri-food company and will see Dale Farm’s locally-made block cheddars, as well as grated and sliced varieties, stocked in 8,000 stores across 22 countries.

The contract award means Dale Farm, which has multiple processing and manufacturing sites across the UK, will be Lidl’s main cheddar supplier on a global basis.  

In turn, the retailer now becomes Dale Farm’s biggest cheddar customer.

Export capability

Liam Casey, commercial director of Lidl Ireland & Northern Ireland, said Dale Farm’s product, and its export capabilities, secured the deal.

“Dale Farm’s excellent track record on product quality, innovation and provenance, as well as its distribution and export expertise, make it a strong and strategic choice for Lidl as we continue our drive to provide shoppers with the best choice, standard and value for money,”​ Casey said.

Lidl’s Northern Ireland director, Conor Boyle, said the deal secures the existing relationship between the supermarket chain and Dale Farm.

“It is a coup for Dale Farm and for Lidl, allowing us to introduce and showcase this stunningly good Northern Ireland product to our customers around the world,”​ Boyle said.

Farmer owners

Dale Farm produces its cheese range using milk supplied by its co-operative members, at its Dunmanbridge plant near Cookstown in County Tyrone.  The cheddar range will go on-shelf in Lidl Ireland under the supermarket’s ‘Rathdaragh’ own-brand, in the UK and Europe as ‘Valley Spire’ and ‘Milbona’, and in the US as ‘Preferred Selection’. 

Stephen Cameron, Dale Farm Group commercial director, said the agreement is good news for the 1,300 farmers who own the Dale Farm co-operative.

“The scale of this contract is testament to the high standard of the milk our farmer owners provide us with to consistently create world-class cheddar cheese. It also demonstrates the continuing strength and sustainability of our farmer owned co-operative business model,”​ Cameron said.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Cheese, Emerging Markets

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